CIM Race Report

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This is so overdue that I considered not posting a recap, but I decided that it was a special day and I would like a record of it.

It’s important to mention that CIM was a big question mark for several weeks leading up to the race. After my disaster at the Snohomish Half, I had no interest in running CIM and was convinced that running the marathon would be a very mean thing to do to myself. But in the end, after changing my mind at least a dozen times, I decided to do it. And I’m glad I did.

California International Marathon

Dad had knee surgery on October 31 (oddly the same day I was laid off) and couldn’t run the marathon. But since he had paid for his registration and his knee was healing nicely, he was able to run parts of the marathon with me. He started and finished the race with me, and his support got me through the race.

We took the shuttle to the start, arriving about an hour before the race started. After wasting time doing the typical pre-race stuff (such as going to the bathroom and then immediately hoping back in line for the porta potty), we positioned ourselves in front of the 4:25 pacer, listened to the national anthem, and then we were off!

The race started on a nice downhill and then the rolling hills began. Knowing I was under-trained, I made a conscious effort to keep the pace super easy and hoped that proper pacing would get me to the finish line.

After two miles, we spotted John on the right side of the ride. Before peeling off, Dad reminded me that he and John would be at mile 10, and that he would run miles 10-12 with me.

Feeling lonely and a little scared, I concentrated on getting to mile 10. At mile 8, I walked through the water station to hydrate and take a GU, and the 4:25 pace group passed me. That was a low moment, but I tried to brush it off, telling myself there was plenty of time to catch up with them.

I saw Dad and John at mile 10, and Dad joined me for the next two miles. Dad reminded me to stay in the moment and not to compare myself to myself. I sadly dropped Dad off with John around mile 12.5, and I eventually made it to the halfway point at 2:12:30.

At mile 14, I started feeling really sorry for myself. I was tired and worried how I would finish the race. Tired with 12 miles to go — not a good feeling. And then the perfect song played on my iPod:

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.

I smiled and thought: Eminem, you totally get me; this is exactly how I feel. This shit sucks.

But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse

The lyrics woke me up and removed me from the pity party I had started in my head. Smiling like a fool, I played the song again and resolved to not give up. I accepted that this wasn’t going to be a good time (for me), but I was still going to give it my all.

Knowing that I would see Dad and John at mile 16 also helped me stay positive. About 20 minutes later, I saw them and waved.

After running by Dad and John, I started the countdown until mile 20. We planned for Dad to run miles 20-26.2, and I was looking forward to the company. I got through the next four miles by trying to enjoy the race as much as I could. I distracted myself by thanking the volunteers and spectators. High-fiving the kids and spectators. Reading the signs. For the first time in a marathon, I wasn’t dreading mile 20; I was looking forward to it.

Right on time, I saw Dad and John at mile 20. Dad started running with me, and I yelled to John: “See you at the finish line!” Dang, it felt good to say that.

Compared to other marathons, I actually felt pretty good at mile 20. I was tired, but nothing hurt that badly and my energy levels had stayed pretty consistent throughout the race.

At mile 21, Dad turned to me and said, “Just five more.” I laughed and thought of my nephew Ryder, who is obsessed with saying “just five more.”

It doesn’t matter what you say to Ryder, he always wants five more. For instance, you could say, “Ryder, 15 more minutes until bed time.” To which he would look at you really seriously, squint his eyes, hold up his right hand and say, “No, five more.”

I was tired, but I was happy that my pace was staying pretty consistent. I kept chugging along, counting down the miles.

The last mile of CIM is pretty terrible — it’s a long straightaway until you turn left toward the Capitol building. I kept willing the turn to come faster. I also willed Dad to not leave me (he didn’t cross the finish line). By this point, I was really tired and so ready to be done.

Finally, I made the turn and at the last possible moment, Dad peeled off the course. I saw the finish line and tried to soak it in as I finished my seventh marathon.

I had and still have very mixed emotions about this marathon. On one hand, it was my slowest marathon time ever (4:27:26). So that doesn’t feel very good.

But it was also my most evenly paced marathon, which I attribute to smart pacing and fueling. It meant a lot to receive such great support from my dad and husband. It was a team effort, and I couldn’t have made it through the race without them. Being able to see them so many times on the course kept my spirits up and helped me break the race into manageable chunks.

Team Megan

Team Megan

I had two reasons for running this race:

1. Because I’m stubborn and didn’t want to quit. Mission accomplished!

2. Because I thought it would inspire Dad and me as we make plans for 2015. Check! More on this later, but let me just say this: 2015 is my year. The fire is back, and I’m determined to make this my best year of running.